the following information is not a Wikipedia about Panerai (Wiki) but tries to give new Paneristi a general overview about Panerai model(s), their evolution, typical naming/expression, and the use of our database.
We start with general information that fits to all Panerai watches and goes deeper in the specific collections with types of cases and dials.
You will find at the end (chapter 9 & 10) recommendations for the use of “THE Panerai Reference Database” & typical naming & abbreviations.
At Panerai exist letters for production years and fiscal years.
Production year “A” starts with 1998, fiscal year “A” starts with 1999 (called A series).
Only the production year is relevant at the fan-base because it is displayed on each watch.
Following you can see all series (production years):
A 1998, B 1999, C 2000, D 2001, E 2002, F 2003, G 2004, H 2005, I 2006, J 2007, K 2008, L 2009, M, 2010, N 2011, O 2012, P 2013, Q 2014, R 2015, S 2016, T 2017, U 2018, V 2019, W 2020, X 2021, Y 2022, Z 2023, ? 2024 good question 😉
“PreA” series is used as expression during acquisition and short after acquisition of Panerai by Richmont before the series wording was introduced (1997). Review following page for PreA details: Link
Millesimation shows you the production limitation for a specific year (e.g. 1000). Because of that, all Panerai watches have a kind of limitation. On the watch bottom site, you will find the information in the form: “Series (Production year)” “specific watch number out of” / “Millesimation (limitation)” e.g. S0511/1000 (means in year 2016 the 511th produced watch out of 1000).
For some reason, Panerai produced few specific references outside the Millesimation. That is called “Out Of Range (OOR)”. In those cases, you will find the information OOR0025/0100 on the bottom side of the watch. Here you have no information about the specific production year. For example review OOR at PAM00002 with 100 pieces & PAM00217 with 11 pieces.
3. Serial Numbers
Panerai watches bear four serial numbers.
- Millesimation: Most used number in Panerai fan-base (description see at Millesimation)
- Case number: Starts with two letters, followed by digit numbers. Most used letters are BB, additional used letters are DB, DT, PB, PL, PN, PT, SM, SW.
A clear usage system about the letters is not known, maybe declare the combination of used case materials, like SW for wood, PN is used for Ceramica or Carbotech models, DT is used mostly for Composite. The rendered pictures on the Panerai website show mostly a BB, nevertheless real produced watches of same reference have often other letters. It can be also a production location code, because most cases have a BB, exotic materials have unusual combination.
- Case-Type-Number: Case-Type-Number beginning with “OP”, followed by a four-digit number. First numbers started with 6500, after ~20 years new cases have today a number around 7400 (e.g. OP 7387).
Movement number: Movement number is mostly a simple digit number.
The reference is a specific Panerai watch model, that is produced one or more years. The full naming begins with PAM* followed by 5-digit number (e.g. PAM00127). Until 2015 Panerai used only the last three numbers. Because of that most Paneristi do not write the first two digits (e.g. PAM127, or only the digit 127 instead of PAM00127).
Additionally, some references have an own naming in the fan-base (e.g. PAM00127 is called Fiddy).
*PAM means “Panerai Model”, because of the letters PAM as part of the reference, most Paneristi name the Panerai watch simply “Pam”.
You can classify the references in four groups how they were limited and/or sold:
Standard reference: Produced in volumes about 500-4000 pieces p.a.
Limited edition: Produced in smaller volumes about 500-2000 pieces for a limited time (e.g. 1-3 years)
Special edition: Produced fixed volumes (that was defined in advance), ~2-~2000 pieces
Boutique edition: Produced fixed volumes (that was defined in advance), to sell at only one or a few specific boutiques, volumes very low from ~20-~150 pieces (many Paneristi references belong to that category)
Changes during production of a reference are called “Evolution” and they are described in the Panerai ABC handbook (official Panerai dealer book). Nevertheless, not all changes are stated by Panerai (e.g. changes of the design of the dial like “long arrow” or “short arrow” at PAM00005).
Typical changes are:
- New engravings on the case
- Changes on parts (e.g. crown protector)
- Changing dials technique (e.g. from painted to sandwich or vice versa)
- Changes on dial design (e.g. move from Base dial to All Numbers, adding/removing “pig”)
- Changes on movement (e.g. remove date function, changing “dot” to AM/PM hands)
- Changes on strap or adding additional strap
- Change crystal from plexi to sapphire or vice versa
- Change from open case back “see-through crystal” to closed case back (or vice versa)
- Changes strap fixing on case (e.g. from screwing to “casing without screws” or vice versa)
- Case-Type change comes along with bigger changes (e.g. OP 6837 to OP 7068)
To know which evolution a specific reference has, you have to know the specific production year (called series). A typical question from a Paneristi is “from which series is the PAM?”.
Following you can see some comparison of evolutions.
Evolution: Updated Logo on the crown
Evolution: Luminor casing without screws
Evolution: Luminor 1950 casing without screws
Evolution: 24h Indication with hand instead of disk (dot to AM/PM)
Evolution: Torpedo removed from the dial (that torpedo is called “pig” at Panerai fan-base)
6. Dial types & specialties
The variations of dials you can split in two groups. First group is with which technique the numbers and lines were applied to the dial. second, how the design of the dial is.
6.1. Technical methods
In the first group we differentiate between the “Sandwich dial”, “Painted dial”, “Sausage dial”, “Printed dial”, and “Connected pins & dots”.
Connected pins & dots
6.2. Design layout
The second group we differentiate between the layout, look & feel of the dial.
Base dial with dots instead of lines
S.L.C. dial with lines instead of dots
6.3. Used Luminous Materials
The naming on the dial under the number “6” depends on the used luminous material.
The naming "T SWISS T" and "T SWISS MADE T" are used in case of Tritium luminous material (replacement started in 2006/2007 to Super-Luminova). It is unclear if Panerai will use Tritium in the future because of the low radioactivity (only touchy if watch is open for maintenance or the topic waste disposal). Last watch with Tritium was the PAM00285 in 2008.
"L SWISS L" is used for Luminova, it was replaced at most series by Super-Luminova, starting from 2004/2005. Nevertheless, Luminova is still used for classic series (e.g. PAM01075).
"L SWISS MADE L" is used for Super-Luminova. New Panerai models use mostly Super-Luminova.
Misleading is the understanding of which material is “better”. Tritium is low radioactive. It does not need light to “load up”. Because of that it was used mostly for professional watches like for deep diving.
Luminova and Super-Luminova need light to “load up”. Super-Luminova has a much higher glow (also called luminance). It releases the saved energy much faster. Because of that it is also much faster “empty”. Super-Luminova glows between 2-5 hours in darkness. Luminova glows slighter but up to 24 hours. Misleading is also the meaning that Super-Luminova as advancement of Luminova is at all areas better. Super-Luminova glows stronger, but Luminova glows longer.
Generally, the naming and quality of used luminous materials is more a marketing tool at all watch brands (including Panerai), because that material was invented by only one company and is still produced from them in Japan and in Switzerland (another company produces in license the same product). All brands buying from them the finished product or mixes the bought luminous material with own colors (that has no positive impact on the glow characteristic).
Panerai has a wide range of movements because of the huge range of watch sizes (from 38mm until 60 mm case size). That explain the variation of movement names.
Panerai has an old and a new naming system for movements.
Old Naming System “OP”
The old movement naming system at Panerai starts with the letters “OP” followed by Roman numeral (e.g. “OP I”, “OP II”,). In the beginning Panerai had no facilities to produces own movements (was very common at that time) and bought all movements from movement manufacturer. Because of that the OP-naming is strongly connected at Panerai fan-base with purchased movements. Most movements were modified or finished for Panerai exclusively. At our data base you will find the basis caliber and producer name.
The old naming system was simple. Each new movement was introduced via increasing the Roman number (from I to XXXIV). The last movement in that naming system was the “OP XXXIV” introduced in 2017 and renamed to “P.900” in 2018.
New Naming System “P.”
The new movement naming system was introduced with the first own Panerai movement “P.2002” in 2005. Because of that the new naming system is connected with “in-house” at the Panerai fan-base (nevertheless, there is no clear definition about what means in-house* and until now no Panerai definition is known about that).
The naming starts with “P.” followed by 3-4 digits (e.g. P.4000). Additional functions/features are reflected by increasing the last digit (e.g. P.4001) or adding a “/” follows by digit(s) or letter(s) like P.4000/10 or P.4001/S.
The new naming system classified by manual or automatic winding:
- Manual winding: P.999 family, P.1000 family, P.2002 family, P.2004 family, P.2005 family, P.2006/3, P.3000 family, P.5000 family, P.6000
- Automatic winding: P.900 family, P.2003 family, P.4000 family, P.4100, P.9000 family, P.9100 family, P.9200
The new naming system classified by functions & volumes:
- Standard movements (P.900, P.999, P.1000, P.6000). Functions limited to hours, minutes, small seconds, date, seconds reset. Produced in high volumes.
- Platform movements (P.3000, P.4000, P.5000, P.9000). That movements exists with many variations and additional functions but produced in high volumes.
- Chrono movements (P.9100, P.9200)
- Low Volume movements (P.2002, P.2003, P.2004, P.2005, P.4100). That class of movements offers the most variations and complications, especially the P.2005 with the “Grande Complication - Tourbillon”. Because of the low volume, a high % of manual work “manufactura” can be expected.
The P.4100 is quite new. Basis looks quite similar to other P.4000 (Platform) movements. Nevertheless, it is produced until now only in small volumes and has the “Grande Complication - Perpetual Calendar”. Because of that it is classified to the “Low Volume movements”.
The feature-naming is not standardized completely, but standardized features use specific naming.
P.xxx1**: Power Reserve indicator on back (e.g. P.4001)
P.xxx2**: Power Reserve indicator on the dial (on position 5, e.g. P.4002)
P.xxxx/10: Semi-Skeletonized (only on back site to see more gears & parts, e.g. P.4000/10)
P.xxxx/B: Movement in black (e.g. P.2005/B)
P.xxxx/S: Skeletonized decoration (movement parts visible from front and back, no classical dial, e.g. P.2005/S)
Features/Namings used only once:
P.xxxx/C: Parts made on carbon
P.xxxx/E: added “Equation of time” function
P.xxxx/F: Firence decoration on back
P.xxxx/GLS: “Galileo Luna Scheletrato”
P.xxxx/GMT: added “GMT” function
P.xxxx/MR: added “Minute Repeater” function
P.xxxx/R: added “Regatta” function
P.xxxx/T: Titanium materials
Unclear if it will be used in future additional times.
*% of the design comes in-house, % of parts comes inhouse, % of assembly was done inhouse & what means in-house in general? (Panerai belongs to the Richmont Group. Is it still in-house if Panerai gets parts/designs from other Richmont entities?)
**Does not fit to the “Low Volume movements” (P.200x family)
Panerai uses mostly sapphire as crystal. Nevertheless, plexiglass is still in use, mostly at references as homage to a vintage Panerai (e.g. PAM00673 as homage to the Ref. 6152/1 from 1956).
Sapphire is used always for the back side with see-through crystal (independent from used crystal on the top side).
Mineral glass was used at Panerai at some clocks and instruments. No watches with mineral glass are known.
7.3. Case Materials
Panerai introduced over the years many materials and finishes, followed displayed in chronological order.
Stainless steel (called here simply “steel”) was used since vintage time from Panerai, that picture shows you the PAM01086.
During Pre-Vendome time PVD coating on steel cases was introduced additionally (PVD means “Physical Vapour Deposition”). This combination is called here “PVD steel”, that picture shows you the PAM00195. PVD was replaced by DLC in 2009.
Richmont Panerai introduced from 1998 more and more new case materials.
Platinum, introduced with the PAM00021 in 1998, that picture shows you the PAM00715.
Titanium, introduced with the PAM00025 in 1998, that picture shows you the PAM00619.
White Gold, introduced with the PAM00045 in 1999, that picture shows you the PAM00503.
Pink Gold (Goldtech is seen as pink gold variation at Panerai fan-base with gold-copper-platinum-alloy with 72% gold, 24% copper, 4% platinum), introduced with the PAM00100 in 2001, that picture shows you the PAM00659.
Yellow Gold, introduced with the PAM00140 in 2002, that picture shows you the PAM00269.
Tantalium, introduced with the PAM00172 in 2003, that picture shows you the PAM00192.
Ceramica, introduced with the PAM00292 in 2007, that picture shows you the PAM00577.
DLC (Diamond-Like-Carbon) coating on steel cases (here called “DLC steel”) was introduced with the PAM00332 in 2009. It replaced the PVD coating at Panerai, because it is more robust, that picture shows you the PAM00332.
Composite, introduced with the PAM00339 in 2010, that picture shows you the PAM00505.
Bronze, introduced with the PAM00382 in 2011, that is shown on the picture.
Red Gold, introduced with the PAM00393 in 2012, that picture shows you the PAM01057.
Carbotech, introduced with the PAM00616 in 2015, that is shown on the picture.
DLC (Diamond-Like-Carbon) on Titanium (here called “DLC Titanium”), introduced with the PAM00617 in 2015, that is shown on the picture.
BMG-Tech (Bulk Metallic Glass Technology) on Titanium (here called “BMG Titanium”), introduced with the PAM00692 in 2017, that is shown on the picture.
DMLS (Direct-Metal-Laser-Sintering) on Titanium (here called “DMLS Titanium”, introduced with the PAM01099 in 2020, that is shown on the picture.
Fibratech (sandwich materials out of mineral fiber from basaltic rock), introduced with the PAM01663 in 2020, that is shown on the picture.
Panerai uses also naming variation because of alloy variations like Platinumtech, Goldtech (gold-copper-platinum-alloy with 72% gold, 24% copper, 4% platinum, from the color a pink gold variation but harder).
Variations in case finish gets namings like EcoPangaea (brushed steel finish).
Wood, Aluminum & glass was used for clocks and instruments cases.
The Panerai case design has a cushion form that you will find on all Radiomir & Luminor collections (except Mare Nostrum collection). Cushion case design is strongly connected to Panerai, nevertheless it was not designed by Panerai.
8.1. Namings & Insides
“Base” as part of the watch naming is used for watches without a second on dial and without a date or other additional functions on dial. Now exists one exception with the PAM00915. Name is “Luminor Base – 44 mm” but has a small second on dial at position 9, unclear why Panerai that did.
8.2. Inside Luminor collections
Luminor cases (with crown protector)
All Luminor cases looks very similar, nevertheless there are two different main designs. The “Luminor” case (called also Bettarini case in the fan-base) and the “Luminor 1950” case).
Very often Panerai do not differentiate between that two case designs. On the website both sorted under the name “Luminor”. Often the Luminor 1950 reference name has no “1950” as part of the watch name (e.g. Luminor Marina - 42mm PAM02392 with a Luminor 1950 case). Because of that you have to look accurate to detect the case design. The simplest indicator is the crown protector. The Bettarini case has on the top side no engravings, the Luminor 1950 case has the “REG. T.M” engravings on the top side.
9. How-to for the “THE Panerai Reference Database”
The start-screen “https://panerai.watchlounge.com” shows you as overview all the categories & collections.
Select at first the collection you want to search for. You can select “All References” or “All Movements” if you do not know in which collection the searched model belongs. Please be aware that this selection leads to the longest loading time.
The database will load & list all appropriate results (in case of selection “Luminor” all Luminor references, in case of “All References” all references from the database). Recommendation: The default setup shows you 50 entries per page. You can select on the bottom of the table “Show All entries per page”.
Now you can filter additionally the database result or sort by one of the offered columns.
To filter the result table additionally, you can search for specific naming like “PAM00127” or “127” or “Fiddy” at the “Search:” field. The database will reduce the current result to only the lines where your naming is fitting (e.g. a search about “Paneristi” will show you only the references where “Paneristi” is part of the Model name).
To sort the result table, you have to click on the naming of the specific column. One click is in ascending order (you see it on the small triangle beside the column name, it shows “up”). Second click is sorted in descending order (you see it on the small triangle beside the column name, it shows “down”). Now you can go throw the interesting values within the table.
Example 1: Sort by “Movement” and scroll to the position where the movement “OP I” starts. From now you see all references with that movement
Example 2: Sort by “Case Size” and scroll to the position where the case size 44 mm starts. From now you see all references with that size.
10. Naming & Abbreviation
Here you can find often used naming and abbreviation from the Panerai fan-base.
|Bettarini Case||Means the first Luminor case with crown protector (but not the Luminor 1950 case, that was introduced later with the PAM00127)|
|Destro||Left-handed (crown is places vice versa, to where the watch on the other wrist)|
|Dirty dial||Describes the used luminous material color with vintage look (e.g. patina look at a PAM00356)|
|Left-handed||Crown is places vice versa, to wear the watch on the other wrist|
|Luminova||Luminous material is still used by Panerai for classical models. Naming on dial is "L SWISS L", for more details review chapter 6.3|
|Marina Militare||Means in Italian (military) “Navy”. Panerai references uses sometimes that naming on special editions, nevertheless that naming is not owned or protected by Panerai.|
|Millesimation||See at Millesimation (chapter 2)|
|Paneristi||Panerai fan or fan-base|
|Pig||See at S.L.C.|
|PreA||See at Series (chapter 1)|
|Pre-Vendome||Means the time before Richmont bought Panerai (Vendome is the old company name from Richmont)|
|Reference||See at References (chapter 4)|
|Series||See at Series (chapter 1)|
|S.L.C.||Means “Siluro a lenta corsa”, in English language “Slow running torpedo”. That torpedoes were manned. A lot of pictures from Panerai show that manned torpedoes. Panerai uses the name for a specific dial-layout (see chapter 6) and references with that dial. That manned torpedo is applied as small logo on some dials (e.g. PAM00425). That small dial logo is also called “pig” in the Panerai fan-base (to different that form the S.L.C. dial type).|
|Super-Luminova||Luminous material used from approx. 2005 at Panerai. Naming on dial is "L SWISS MADE L".|
|Tritium||Luminous material used until 2006 at Panerai. Naming on dial is "T SWISS T" or "T SWISS MADE T". Radioactive material, replaced by “Super-Luminova”.|